Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Complete Primer On What Capital Campaigns Are, How They Work, How To Fundraise For One, and How to Specifically Apply for Grants for A Capital Campaign

The following are five posts written to educate the reader about how capital campaigns work, what they typically fund, how they are usually conducted, what is unique about them, and how one conducts grant writing for capital campaigns.  Please read:

How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods

How A Capital Campaign Works

Who Does What In A Capital Campaign

The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically For A Capital Campaign

The Specifics About How To Write A Viable Winning Grant Proposal for a Capital Campaign

Mental Health Journalism Fellowship Offering for Journalists in the United States, Romania, and South Africa Reporting On Mental Health Issues

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in more information about this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post].

Deadline: April 18, 2011

Applications Invited for Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

As part of an international effort to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, the Carter Center annually offers the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to support journalists from the United States, Romania, and South Africa in reporting on topics related to mental health or mental illnesses.
The goals of the year-long fellowships are to increase accurate reporting on mental health issues and decrease incorrect, stereotypical information; help journalists produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of mental health issues through exposure to well-established resources in the field; and develop a cadre of better-informed print and electronic journalists who will more accurately report information through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film, and the Internet and influence their peers to do the same.

To be eligible, applicants must have at least three years of experience in print or electronic journalism (writing, reporting, editing, producing, film making), and be a citizen or resident of the United States, Romania, or South Africa.

Six U.S. fellows will be awarded stipends of $10,000 each. International fellows are awarded a comparable stipend. Stipends cover expenses during the fellowship project, including travel, materials, and other incidental expenses.

Visit the Carter Center Web site for complete program information and application procedures.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Specifics About How To Write A Viable Winning Grant Proposal for A Capital Campaign

Specifically conducting grant writing to raise money for a capital campaign has its own unique processes, like all other work on a capital campaign.  Some are the same as general grant writing but some are unique when raising grants for a capital campaign.

I began this series of blog posts discussing how capital campaigns work, what they are, and how a nonprofit fundraises during one with the posts, How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods, and next, How A Capital Campaign Works, The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically For A Capital Campaign, and most recently, Who Does What In A Capital Campaign.  These posts include the basics and primer for this post.

Typically, by virtue of capital campaigns usually being some of the single largest increment funding goals a nonprofit will place for itself over the course of the organization's history, any capital campaign grant that a nonprofit applies for are in very large dollar amounts.  Depending on the goal and need, a nonprofit might apply for a $150,000 capital campaign grant up to several million dollar grants.

The document will include the usual necessary information and section included in a well composed grant application.  This capital campaign grant request, though, will include a bit more that is unique to this kind of campaign.  A competitive potentially viable grant proposal (or grant application) that is raising funds specifically for a capital campaign will include the following:

__ A clear goal that is defined, finite, and truly viable.  The campaign has been planned to be strategically successful.  There must be demonstrable support for the capital goal among the organization's community, and that support and those supporters must be described in quantifiable detail (i.e. either the capital campaign is raising funds towards a new building or it is raising funds for the organization's endowment fund).  The true cost of the capital campaign's goal must be described in detail according to the grant donor's giving guidelines on what they want to know in the 'budget' section of the proposal and the attached project and campaign budgets.  Finally, you must be able to describe exactly (again in verifiable details) how the organization plans to sustain this campaign, the capital project, and the organization's usual operations and growth, all in tandem.

__ In the project description portion of the grant proposal, there must be a definition of the project that is clear and finite including what need the beneficiaries of the organization have for this capital project and how they will benefit from it, a full description of all costs (as explained above), a timeline for the capital campaign (itself), and a timeline for the capital project (whatever the capital campaign is raising funds to finance), and each plan must include contingency plans in case of problems or unforeseen issues.

__ The fundraising plan description of the grant proposal must demonstrate leadership.  The organization, itself, by virtue of its successes and achievements (including its potential for future success), and also the organization's leaders must be of a very reputable, expert, credentialed, and connected quality.  These specific people may not need to be each described in the actual proposal (usually the grant donor's giving guidelines will request a list of the current board of directors, for instance, that may include where each works and their position (or where they retired from, etc.)).  The level of leadership must come across though, by virtue of the quality, capability, successes, and verifiable potential that the organization is relating through the proposal's thorough but concise details, planning, execution, evaluations, interactions in the community, demonstrable community buy in to the organization and this campaign, etc. 

__ The fundraising plan, in the grant application, must also include: a strong indication that the constituents from which most funds will be raised (for the capital campaign) have already been identified, studied for realistic viable fundraising potential, and even already talked with by the nonprofit's leadership, perhaps.  A fundraising plan that can share a case study (or feasibility study, if one's been conducted) that can place the capital project into the context of the community is very compelling.

During the grant process, specifically for a capital campaign, grant donors will typically want the following from organizations that they give grants to (and as always, each grant donor differs from the next one, so it is truly vital that a nonprofit fully researches each potential grant donors it is planning to apply to, BEFORE it applies, in order to know what each grant donor will need, among other reasons):

__ Progress reports (usually at set increments, such as quarterly) which might include: a list of the donors who have given so far, and total funds raised so far, pending fundraising requests and any that include known decision dates, and progress on major donor requests

__ The nonprofit has to have raised money before it applies for grants.  This is why, during a capital campaign, the grant writing work is usually conducted during the second or third phase (of the total fundraising to be done for the campaign).

__ The capital campaign must be funding a goal that truly meets a real (but as yet, unmet) need in the community and preferably meets that need in an innovative but viable way.  It should be a real solution that will do what it intends to, and will be evaluated to check for goal achievement and to determine what needs improvement.

How can you tell if your organization's grant goals for your capital campaign are viable, beyond a feasibility study's findings?  Compare your organization's recent work and operations to any of the larger grant donor's requirements of the organizations that apply to them for capital campaign grants (i.e. Kresge, Ford, etc. foundations).  For example, it is not unusual for a major capital donor to require any nonprofit that applies for a capital campaign grant to have:

__ 3 years, or more, stable financial history

__ continuity of executives (leaders)

__ 100% board giving

__ detailed fundraising and project plans to succeed at both the capital campaign and the actual capital project the campaign will fund

__ ability to achieve each benchmark (for both the fundraising and the project)

__ leverage of the fundraising during the capital campaign (such as a major donor willing to match funds raise, perhaps $2 for each $1 raised - and this is not unusual)

__ transformation of the nonprofit, itself.

Grants for United States Nonprofits Empowering Older Adults

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in more information about this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post].

Deadline: March 4, 2011

National Community Reinvestment Coalition Invites Grant Proposals for Initiative to Empower Older Adults

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, (NCRC) with support from Atlantic Philanthropies, has announced its 2011 Request for Proposals for National Neighbors Silver, an initiative to support and empower older adults across the United States.

In line with NCRC's mission to increase fair and equal access to credit, capital, and banking services in under-served communities, National Neighbors Silver is designed to specifically address the problems of older adults in America who are facing financial insecurity due to historically high rates of home foreclosure and unemployment.

The program will bring community, public, and private-sector partners together utilizing structured, neighborhood-focused outreach, education, and advocacy to benefit older adults. The National Neighbors Silver grant will fund regional advocacy networks, facilitated by local organizers. NCRC will select five organizations over three funding cycles, for a total of fifteen organizations. Each funding cycle for this program will last three years.

Grantees will bring the goals of inclusion, opportunity, economic stability, and empowerment to their region's older adult population through the following activities: 1) creation of an organizing network to engage and activate older adults, along with the general public, to build power and promote key policy initiatives; 2) education of a task force of community practitioners on issues effecting older adults; 3) minimization and discouragement of discrimination and predatory practices that weaken the financial security of older adults; and 4) preservation of the wealth of older adults and their primary financial assets — their homes — through strengthened home ownership, enhanced home equity, and improved foreclosure prevention programming.

The program will provide $37,500 in year one, $30,000 in year two, and in-kind support in year three. Grantees must provide $10,000 in matching funds in year one, $17,500 in matching funds in year two, and $47,500 in funding for year three. Preference will be given to applicants who include a Letter of Interest for the first-year $10,000 match. This match can be provided by the grantee's organization or from an outside funding group, collaborative, or other nonprofit.

Applicants must be nonprofit corporations or advocacy organizations with proof of 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, and members of NCRC at the time the grant proposal is submitted. (For information about becoming a member, visit:

Visit the NCRC Web site for program information and the complete Request for Proposals.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Does What In A Capital Campaign

In, The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically for A Capital Campaign, my previous instructional post, I explain from a high arching point of view what is specific to raising grants for capital campaigns.  In this post I am going to begin to talk more specifically about this grant raising process.  The people involved in a capital campaign must, through a well researched and planned capital campaign, be the key and are the key to its success.

I began this series of blog posts discussing how capital campaigns work, what they are, and how a nonprofit fundraises during one with the posts, How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods, and next, How A Capital Campaign Works, and then as mentioned, above, The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically For A Capital Campaign.  These posts include the basics and primer for this post.

Everyone who is involved in the work of a capital campaign (perhaps except for the capital campaign committee members) will have already existing jobs and tasks that they do for the nonprofit.  Capital campaigns always demand additional work be added to every one's work load and the leaders must acknowledge this, prior to planning a capital campaign, and build in the campaign plan preparations for this 'double' work load (perhaps by bringing additional (perhaps temporary) volunteers, interns, or even staff to assist with either the new additional work for the capital campaign or to help be certain the usual work is getting done).

The various committee members, other volunteers who will work on the capital campaign, executive director, board members, staff, and if pertinent, any consultant(s) must do a single, clearly defined job, that lists anticipated outcomes for each, a timeline that includes benchmarks noting when each individual's anticipated outcomes or goals are to be achieved by, and everyone must know what each person who is working on the capital campaign is responsible for and their contact information.  This includes the leaders involved in the capital campaign, as well.

As is always the case when applying for grants, leaders will be the 'front line' of most if not all major donor fundraising, including raising grants for this capital campaign.  As stated in a previous capital campaign post, leaders must know what work the nonprofit is doing in the community, and specifically, what need that work is meeting.  Board members, the executive director, and any other organizational leaders must be regularly and often getting out in the community and conversing with pre-determined and researched potential donors, including (as is appropriate) grant donors, such as board members of foundations that the nonprofit is going to apply to.  As leaders raise these larger increment donations, they will become not just capital for the fund but also they will be used as leverage. 

Large increment donations that the organization acquires should be (as cleared with each donor) used as an example for all other potential donors that the organization is going to approach.  In other words, in the budget portion of a grant proposal, it is wise to list under "Income" all promised donations already acquired (confirmed) thus far.  Also, the larger donations already raised can be used as leverage in face to face major donor meetings.  The board member or executive director meeting with potential major donors must be sure to share with these individuals what other funds have already been raised thus far, too.  Sharing what large gifts have already been received demonstrates to donors who are considering giving (whether a grant donor or individual donor) that there is community buy-in to this capital campaign and its goal; and the amount raise thus far can also indicate to those considering giving how much the community supports the nonprofit and its campaign by virtue of the amount raised thus far (and if pre-authorized, also by who has given or pledged donations, already). 

As is also always the case in fundraising, the leadership who will be the most successful at fundraising (for any campaign, including a capital campaign) are those people who believe so much in the need the community has for the organization's work, and the beneficiary(ies) of the organization that they impart a personal passion for the nonprofit's successes and achievements upon the potential donors that they meet.  Also, the leader who gives a larger amount gift has an easier time asking others to do so, too, as they've in effect 'put their money where their own mouth is'.  It's easier, too, to ask others to give if you, yourself, have already given. 

Leaders who already have well established relationships with leaders of foundations or other types of grant donors (i.e. municipalities) will have an easier time getting face time with those leaders to express why they should give to your organization's capital campaign. 

As is true of all fundraisers, leaders will need time to be built into the campaign plan and its timeline.  This means all leaders involved in the capital campaign must have their own time to not just give to the organization but a personal commitment that demonstrates that they will attend all organizational meetings, conduct all the tasks expected of them, and will follow through, as necessary.  Too, having time means that the nonprofit must allow each leader a realistic amount of time to: train or learn how to raise large increment donations, practice doing so, set appointments, begin meeting with pre-identified and pre-researched large donors (including, as planned, ans as is allowed, grant donors).  No one who raises funds simply walks out the door, after beginning a new campaign, and raises $1 million. 

Finally, when discussing key roles in raising larger increment donations during a capital campaign, the executive director also must have specific tasks (in addition to all usual organizational operations work that they do when there is no capital campaign going on) assigned to them.  Executive directors, like board members, are powerful fundraisers, as well.  They must have the time to give to a capital campaign (which may require that the organization hire an interim 'co-executive director' during the capital campaign, so the organization and its office continues to run smoothly).  It must be clear what the executive director should be spending their time doing to achieve the goals of their work for the capital campaign.  

Volunteers and staff (and if pertinent, consultants) who are not leaders have their own important respective roles to play, too, in the success and achievements of a capital campaign.

If a nonprofit hires a capital campaign consultant, the consultant typically does one (or all) of several potential jobs.  Consultants most usually train all leaders (the board and executive director) in all or any one of the specific tasks that leaders must do for a successful campaign.  They may also be instrumental in recruiting new board members with: powerful connections, prior successes working in other capital campaigns elsewhere, or with many philanthropic friends. Consultants can also assist the organization with its feasibility study, planning the campaign, and strategizing for a compelling and successful capital campaign.  If your organization is shopping for capital campaign consultants, ask colleagues working for or volunteering with other nonprofits who you know have gone through a successful capital campaign, and ask who they worked with.  Or, you can (for organizations located anywhere in the United States) log onto the Association of Fundraising Professionals and look over their consultants list (who are only members of this well regarded and reputable professional affiliation).  As is always the case when hiring anyone for any fundraising work - be sure to interview several strong candidates, ask for several references for each and follow through and talk with each reference about each candidate, and ask for credentials, examples of recent success, etc.

Volunteers, for the capital campaign, might assist in the usual day to day work, do administrative work, assist with programs, or assist the staff and leaders who are working on the capital campaign. 

The staff, as already stated will inevitably have an additional (perhaps burdensome) work load and this simply must be planned for, alleviated to some degree, and dealt with such that everyone is still accomplishing everything that they should, the usual day to day work is not suffering, and achievements in all areas are being made.  The final three needs listed in the previous sentence, if occurring after a capital campaign is implemented, will indicate (if they occur) that the plan in place for the capital campaign's staffing and double work load is effective.  The best litmus, though, are the employees themselves.  If they do not feel they are getting enough support or not being heard by the leaders, problems will arise in operations and this can be expensive in many ways.  So, it is best to plan for and proactively deal with staffing needs and issues, before a campaign gets underway. 

Staff, for the capital campaign, will do various specific tasks related to the jobs that they were hired for.  The bookkeeper will be a part of the budgeting and planning for the campaign.  The volunteer coordinator will be a major part of planning for, recruiting for, and placing volunteers in a strategic, satisfying, and effective manner for everyone's benefit. Programs people will still be conducting their usual work (like everyone else) but may also be asked to speak about the 'front line' work the organization is doing to potential donors, or may be instrumental in helping word marketing materials or the programs description in grant proposals and other fundraising materials.  Administration will inevitably be impacted in their workload filing, support, answering and directing phone calls, etc. The fundraising staff, though, will most likely be the most impacted staff at the organization.  Capital campaigns will require that the fundraisers do their usual work, over the year(s) that the campaign runs, in tandem with all new, additional, capital campaign-specific fundraising work.  The fundraising staff will be a part of perhaps the capital campaign committee, but most definitely will be including in planning and implementing the capital campaign.  They will support those going and doing face to face meetings with major donors, for instance, by helping to identify ideal potential donors for the leadership to meet with, conducting research on those donors to inform and enable the leaders prior to their meetings with these key donors, and more.  The fundraising staff will also help plan and conduct each fundraising method to be used over the course of the capital campaign (i.e. perhaps: major donors campaign, appeals, grant writing, pledge drive, etc.).  They will also help plan, implement, and run any special events that might be a part of the capital campaign.

In my next instructive post, I will discuss the specifics about raising grants for a capital campaign.

Grants for Safe and Vital Communities for: Tolerance, Economic Empowerment, Teen Safe Driving, and Domestic Violence Programs

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in more information on this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post].

Deadline: March 11, 2011

Allstate Foundation Invites Applications for 2011 Grant Program

The Allstate Foundation, which provides funding in communities across the United States to address key social issues, is accepting applications for the first round of its 2011 regional grant cycle.

Grants are available for both new and renewal projects that fall under the foundation's grantmaking focus areas: safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment.

Safe and Vital Communities: The foundation is dedicated to fostering safe and vital communities that are economically strong, crime-free, and give residents a sense of belonging and commitment. Safe and Vital Communities funding priorities include teen safe driving, catastrophe response, and neighborhood revitalization.

Tolerance, Inclusion, and Diversity: The foundation is committed to programs that bring tolerance, inclusion, and value to people of all backgrounds regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, or physical challenges. Tolerance, inclusion, and diversity funding priorities include teaching tolerance to youth to help foster a generation free of bias and intolerance, and alleviating discrimination by encouraging communities to be free of prejudice.

Economic Empowerment: The foundation is committed to empowering Americans with the economic resources and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their financial future. Economic empowerment funding priorities include helping domestic violence survivors build their financial security, and increasing Americans' financial and economic literacy.

A majority of foundation funding is dedicated to the foundation's two signature issues — teen safe driving and domestic violence. Teen safe driving grants support programs to make smart driving socially acceptable to teens by changing the way teens think and act in a car as a driver or passenger. Domestic violence grants fund programs that use financial education, job training, matched savings, and other economic empowerment tools to help domestic violence survivors build their financial independence as a way to get free and stay free from violence.

The Allstate Foundation also offers specialized grant programs to state and local domestic violence organizations.

Applicants must be a United States-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, or a municipal, state, or federal government entity.

Visit the Allstate Web site for complete funding guidelines, online application form, and an FAQ.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically For A Capital Campaign

A portion of the total money raised for a capital campaign should come in the form of grants.  In this post, I discuss raising grants specifically for capital campaigns, but this information will be helpful to anyone seeking a grant for a large single increment (generally,$100,000 or larger).

In two previous posts I led up to this post.  In How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods I give a general overview of what a capital campaign is, and what is unique to it.  Then  explain the specifics of a capital campaign in How A Capital Campaign Works.

The necessary professional nonprofit best practices, knowledge of the common grant application process and its steps, the mechanics of good grant writing and its skill, and other knowledge, skills, and professionalism are still necessary when planning, undertaking, and conducting a grant writing campaign specifically for a capital campaign (which is usually going on concurrently with all of the organization's usual annual grant writing work).  Anyone reading this who is not familiar with these basics is invited to review the "Labels" (in the lower right hand margin on this web page) to understand them further (i.e. "How To", "Grant Writing", "Best Practices" labels, etc.).  Reviewing, too, what has been explained about capital campaigns thus far: capital campaigns are most usually a historic one (maybe two) time event in the history of the organization, they raise some of the large amounts of money in one campaign in one period of time, the amount of money to be raised and the time taken to raise the capital funds are both planned in advance and finite, capital campaigns are such lofty goals and unique campaigns that it is nearly imperative that a nonprofit bring one or more new board members with previous successful capital campaign experience, and capital campaigns leave nonprofit organizations (after they are completed) not just with a well funded endowment fund or a new building but they also leave organizations in a particularly strategic and strong position in their community as their message (mission, goals, achievements, and potential) are understood among community members of all kinds, and they have positioned the organization to conduct some of its most successful (and larger amount) fundraising for the finished campaign but also going forward.

When a nonprofit conducts grant writing as a portion of the total fundraising effort for a capital campaign there are some unique specifics to this type of grant writing.

__ There is a single purpose or use for the grant if it is raised.  This makes for a very focused, clear, and on point grant proposal (or grant application).

__ When a foundation or other type of organization that gives grants becomes aware of your organization's capital campaign and understands the nonprofit's goal and reason or need for the capital, they might know major donors who would be interested in giving (as individuals) to your nonprofit towards the capital campaign.  It is not always the case, but it is not unusual for a grant donor's program manager to share a few potential major donor leads with an applicant nonprofit's executive director or board member in the course of discussion about the campaign and grant application.

__ These same foundations, and others that your organization applies to for the capital campaign, will want to see what the community's take is on your organization, what the capital will fund (i.e. an endowment or a building), what your organization's potential is to further your organization's mission and current (and future) organizational goals, and more.  How do they take this 'temperature reading'?  One way is they take note of how interested potential major donors (people who, by virtue of their ability to donate in large increments, and evidenced by the causes and types of work that they usually donate towards, would be expected to be interested in funding your organization's capital campaign) are in giving to your organization's capital campaign.  Being able to demonstrate to all types of donors, including grant donors, that your nonprofit's community is supporting the usual fundraising and additionally the capital campaign is very compelling for them to give, too.  This is not unique to capital campaigns, but rather always the case - but this point is especially crucial if a nonprofit wants to successfully raise the funds it needs for its capital goal.

__ As stated in How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods, it is not unusual for nonprofits, before they begin planning a capital campaign, to take a 'temperature reading' of their own to determine how viable or it is likely that their capital campaign effort would work.  Speaking specifically of raising grants for a capital campaign, it is not unusual for potential grant donors (any entity that your organization is going to apply to for a grant for the capital campaign) to request a copy of the feasibility study and its findings as a part of the grant application the applicant organization will be asked to submit.  Can you blame them?  If a nonprofit applies to a foundation for, say, a $2million grant is it logical that the grant donor considering the request would want to see proof that it is already determined that the capital campaign effort the organization is conducting is viable?  I mean, who wants to donate any amount at all, let alone millions of dollars, to a campaign and organization that can't demonstrate it can succeed at raising the total funds necessary?

__ As is always the case, the grant proposal or application should always be written from the standpoint of the community and specifically its need that the nonprofit is uniquely meeting.  Writing any grant application but especially a larger increment grant request from the standpoint of the nonprofit rather than the beneficiaries of the organization work is a red flag to any grant donor that reads it that your organization doesn't understand basic fundraising best practices (and could extrapolate that your organization may not do well in the campaign).

In my next instructive blog post, Who Does What In A Capital Campaign, I will explain what people are involved in a capital campaign, what roles they typically fulfill, and what tasks they are usually responsible for.

Applications Sought for Funding for Women-Led Journalism

From The Foundation Center...

[For more information about this grant opportunity, see "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post, below.]

Deadline: April 4, 2011

J-Lab and McCormick Foundation Seek Applicants for New Media Women Entrepreneurs Program

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and the McCormick Foundation are seeking to fund four women-led journalism projects through the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs program.
The program seeks to support individuals interested in creating new Web sites, mobile news services, and other entrepreneurial initiatives that offer interactive opportunities to engage, inspire, and improve news and information in a geographic community or a community of interest.

The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs program will provide one-time grants of $12,000 to women who have the vision, skills, and experience to launch a new venture. These can be solo ideas or team projects spearheaded by women.

Funding is available for start-ups only. Projects must launch at least a live beta within ten months, and must have a plan for continuing after initial funding has ended. Projects may be independent or housed within traditional media.

Award recipients will receive funding through a subcontract if they are an individual or affiliated with a business, and through a grant if they are affiliated with a nonprofit institution.

Visit the program's Web site for complete application guidelines.